What Killed Red Lobster? “Bad Feng Shui”

PLUS: What Life Is Really Like In Thailand

CNN BUSINESS – When seafood conglomerate Thai Union Group became Red Lobster’s leading shareholder in 2020, gaining 49% control of the chain, Red Lobster employees were assured Thai Union would not interfere in key decisions.

Thai Union will “not be involved in Red Lobster’s day-to-day operations, including [its] supply chain standards and processes,” according to a document titled “Seafood Supplier Talking Points” viewed by CNN that was approved by top Thai Union and Red Lobster executives.

“We intend to maintain relationships with all current seafood suppliers,” the talking points said.

Those pledges didn’t last.

By 2022, representatives from Thai Union in Thailand, whose $4 billion empire includes brands like Chicken of the Sea and John West Foods, were embedded in Red Lobster’s Orlando headquarters, serving in top roles and closely directing the largest seafood restaurant chain in the world.

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“Thai Union CEO T. Chansiri visited Red Lobster’s headquarters in 2022 and toured restaurants around the country. He brought along a feng shui consultant. The consultant determined that executive offices in Orlando were ‘bad Feng shui and no one should use them.’”

“We are much deeper involved in the management of Red Lobster,” Thai Union finance chief Ludovic Garnier said on an analyst call in November 2022.

Now, Red Lobster has drowned in a relentless supply of Thai Union-supplied shrimp. Red Lobster filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Sunday, and it plans to sell its business to its lenders. In turn, Red Lobster will receive financing to stay afloat.

Thai Union’s damaging decisions drove the pioneering chain’s fall, according to 13 former Red Lobster executives and senior leaders in various areas of the business as well as analysts.

All but two of the former Red Lobster employees spoke to CNN under the condition of anonymity because of either non-disclosure agreements with Thai Union; fear that speaking out would harm their careers; or because they don’t want to jeopardize deferred compensation from Red Lobster …


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What Life Is Really Like In Thailand

“Corruption is an issue in many sectors in Thailand.” – Government of the United Kingdom, gov.uk

“Bangkok is essentially a shithole. Makes me feel suicidal everyday.” – Reddit user

“Transparency International’s 2023 Corruption Perceptions Index, which scored 180 countries on a scale from 0 (“highly corrupt”) to 100 (“very clean”), gave Thailand a score of 35.” – Corruption in Thailand, Wikipedia

“Thailand: I will never EVER go back in that shit hole. Everywhere you go and everything you do, someone is ready to screw you big time.” – Blog post

“In the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017, corruption is cited as the third biggest obstacle to doing business in Thailand, exceeded only by government instability and inefficient government bureaucracy.” – Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

“Thailand is honestly a shithole, poor, miserable and a very terrible country.” – Blog post

“Went to Thailand with my mother and sister and will never go again. Far from the friendly welcome we were told up expect, I found all the greed, sexual exploitation and animal cruelty a complete turn-off . Also felt that my mother was treated with a lack of respect. It’s all about money and human trafficking is so common place that there’s an undercurrent of nastiness and inhumanity. Fake smiling through gritted teeth. Thailand is rank!!!” – Blog post



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